Classic Pingtan Songs of Suzhou
吴侬软语 娓娓动听，轻清柔缓， 抑扬顿挫，伶俐婉转沁人心脾。
吴侬软语 娓娓动听， 抑扬顿挫，轻清柔缓
德国后期制作母版制造 温暖模拟 松弛自然
The subtle yet soothing melody of southern Chinese “silk and bamboo” music has withstood the test of time, carrying with it hundreds of years of memories and legacies. Just like a gentle breeze on your back on a hot day, or the sound of nothing but the ripples on a pond and the distant chirp of cicadas, pingtan paints a picture of what appears to be simple, but encompasses the natural beauty of the world.
Adored by all, pingtan includes both Suzhou styles of pinghua and tanci. Pingtan is sometimes spoken and sometimes sung, and tells the stories of ancient heroes, tragic lovers, and other timeless Chinese tales. Performed in the soft Wu dialect of the Suzhou area, pingtan features unrushed and delicate vocals. Suzhou pingtan is also a type of storytelling, thus in addition to its pleasing sound it is also filled with the history and culture of China. It has deep traditions, a unique style, and incorporates the elements of “telling, joking, strumming and singing”. “Telling” refers to the form’s storytelling aspect; “joking” is the humor found throughout the lyrics; “strumming” is the strings of the sanxian or pipa, which can be played either by the performer or an accompanying instrumentalist; and “singing” is the singer’s vocal performance. After more than 300 years, many songs in pingtan’s repertoire have become widely known throughout China. With these images frozen in time, pingtan serves as a reflection of China’s past, memories, dreams, lovers that could have been, battles that shouldn’t have taken place. These stories are the soul of pingtan, which come to life with the subtlety of a spring breeze.
From past to present, from blind love to endless grudges, pingtan paints a plethora of vivid portraits of what makes us human. With more than a dozen styles, each with its own personal touches and sentiments, pingtan is an art which satisfies even the most ardent listener, but always leaves more to be enjoyed. The repertoire of pingtan includes classic tales such as West Chamber, Red Mansion, and Hall of Longevity, as well as folk legends such as White Snake, Jade Dragonfly, and Three Smiles, for a comprehensive look at traditional Chinese literature. On this compilation, an ensemble of some of the most talented young pingtan artists from throughout the Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai area bring you captivating performances, with production by prominent music producer Ye Yunchuan, recording by sound artist Li Dakang, and post-production by Stockfisch Studios of Germany.
From blooming flowers to falling leaves, first encounters to heartshattering goodbyes, the songs of pingtan offer you stunning imagery and captivating dreamscapes.
演唱：黄海华 流派：蒋调 琵琶：高博文 词：佚名
1. Yingying Plays the Qin
Vocals: Huang Haihua Style: Jiang Pipa: Gao Bowen Lyrics: anonymous
Cui Yingying, the chancellor’s daughter, stays at Pujiu Temple. She is amazed at her experience there, and among the scent of incense plays her qin, using music to express her feelings of awe. This piece is exquisite and romantic, and filled with imagination.
The Jiang style first formed during the 1930s, after Jiang Yuequan, with his foundation in the Yu style and later expertise in the Zhou (Yuquan) style, created a new sound, with very smooth and delicate melodies, as well as deep vocals and strong expressive elements. The style was later named after Jiang.
演唱：张建珍 流派：俞调 三弦：马志伟 词：佚名
2.Hall of Longevity – Palace Grudge
Vocals: Zhang Jianzhen Style: Yu Sanxian: Ma Zhiwei Lyrics: anonymous
Palace Grudge is a selection from Hall of Longevity. Concubine Yang awaits the emperor, only to see his carriage take him to the empress’ chambers. Yang is filled with jealousy, and expresses her anger in the lyrics. This song is representative of traditional introductory pieces to long ballads. Yang’s feelings of enmity and sorrow are materialized with the mellow tone of the Yu style, for a particularly haunting effect.
The Yu style was created around the middle of the Qing Dynasty (early 19th century) by tanci artist Yu Xiushan. He absorbed elements from southern Chinese folk music, enriching the vocals with musical undulations, tactful expressionism, and juxtapositions between gentleness and intensity. The style is most suitable for expressing the melancholy and lament of female characters.
演唱：毛新琳 流派：张调 琵琶：高博文 词：陈灵犀
3.Lin Chong – Breaking Ties
Vocals: Mao Xinlin Style: Zhang Pipa: Gao Bowen Lyrics: Chen Lingxi
This is a selection from the piece Lin Chong, who is a character from The Marshes of Mount Liang. After interfering with the rape of his wife Zhenniang, Lin Chong is framed and exiled. Before leaving military trainer Zhang reprimands his daughter’s foolishness, and cuts off family ties with her. The vocal style is stern and powerful, creating a vivid image of the scene.
The Zhang style was created by Mr. Zhang Jianting beginning in the 1940s. The style’s characteristics are its bold and vigorous vocals, amid which solemnity is to be found. Its rich sound makes it one of the most widespread and influential pingtan styles.
演唱：周慧 流派：俞调 三弦：毛新琳 词：陈灵犀
4.Lin Chong - Farewell
Vocals: Zhou Hui Style: Yu Sanxian: Mao Xinlin Lyrics: Chen Lingxi
Another selection from Lin Chong. His wife Zhenniang and father-in-law Zhang send Lin Chong off on his journey of banishment. Lin knows deeply that his enemy Gao Qiu will not leave the matter at that, thus this is a permanent farewell with his wife, who is overcome with remorse. The mournful tone of the Yu style perfectly suits the uncontrollable anguish the characters suffer from.
演唱：高博文 流派：严调 琵琶：陆锦花 词：佚名
5.West Chamber – The Banquet
Vocals: Gao Bowen Style: Yan Pipa: Lu Jinhua Lyrics: anonymous
The bandit Sun the Flying Tiger dispatches ruffians to surround Pujiu Temple, with the intent of forcing Cui Yingying to marry him. Yingying’s secret lover Zhang Sheng contacts his childhood friend, a military general, who drives away the team of bandits. Zhang and Yingying are delighted to have to opportunity to be wed, but Yingying’s mother marries her to a court official instead, who holds a banquet in honor of the occasion. Zhang Sheng falls ill and is bed-ridden. The song features indirect and introverted messages about love, expressing the lovers’ longing for one another.
The Yan style was created by Yan Xueting, and is distinguished by its simplistic melodies, clear vocals, and detailed storytelling, most suited for solo performers.
演唱：陈烽 流派：徐调 琵琶：谢英 词：佚名
6.The Case of the Civet Crown Prince
Vocals: Chen Feng Style: Xu Pipa: Xie Ying Lyrics: anonymous
A selection from the tale The Case of the Civet Crown Prince. Imperial detective Baogong is on his way to Chenzhou to deliver rations, when he comes across former imperial concubine Miss Li, who claims that she is the birth mother of the emperor, thus revealing the truth behind an incident which took place years earlier. Miss Li tells that the original crown prince, believed to have been born disfigured and abandoned, was merely a dead civet swapped in his place, and the real crown prince had grown up as the son of a poor family.
The Xu style, named after Xu Yunzhi, originated from folk songs and opera pieces, and even tunes sung by street merchants, creating an innovative and unique sound, also known as the “glutinous rice style”, which is characterized by a distinct tempo and rich undulating melodies.
演唱：黄海华 张建珍 流派：蒋调、俞调 词：陈灵犀
7.Duet: Jade Dragonfly – Yuanzai Meets His Mother
Vocals: Huang Haihua, Zhang Jianzhen Style: Jiang Yu Lyrics: Chen Lingxi
Jade Dragonfly is a tanci piece from the Qing Dynasty. It tells the story of Jin Guisheng, who has a secret relationship with a Buddhist nun named Zhizhen. Jin Guisheng falls ill and dies at the convent, leaving Zhizhen with a child she’s unable to take care of, and thus puts him up for adoption. The child is then adopted by the Xu family, who names him Xu Yuanzai. Later, Yuanzai excels in the imperial examination, and hears word that his real mother is at the Fahua Convent. This song expresses the overwhelming mixture of emotions Yuanzai experiences as he goes to meet his mother for the first time.
Knowing Yuanzai is coming to meet her, Zhizhen is pleased and excited, but because of social restrictions is hesitant to openly admit her relationship to him. Yuanzai continues to question her, and Zhizhen avoids him, but both are anxious to do away with these formalities.
演唱：朱琳 流派：薛调 三弦：姜啸博 词：马如飞（清）
8. Pearl Tower – Chen Lian Hears the Truth
Vocals: Zhu Lin Style: Xue Sanxian: Jiang Xiaobo Lyrics: Ma RuFei
Pearl Tower is a Qing Dynasty tanci piece. When the chancellor’s grandson Fang Qing finds his family in tough circumstances, he travels to Xiangyang to borrow supplies, and is therefore mocked by others. His cousin Chen Cui’e sells their family heirloom, the pearl tower, so that Fang is able to complete his studies, and later he wins the highest prize in the imperial examination. Fang takes leave, first acting as a Daoist monk, then later marries Cui’e. A servant girl of the Chen family sees that Cui’e is unhappy, and tells Fang’s uncle Chen Lian, her words full of indignity.
The Xue (Xiaoqing) style features crisp and clear vocals, suited for the repetition of certain lines to emphasize their emotional core.
演唱：姜啸博 流派：杨调 词：杨振雄
9.Hall of Longevity - Jealousy
Vocals: Jiang Xiaobo Style: Yang Lyrics: Yang Zhenxiong
From the tanci piece Hall of Longevity. Although the emperor’s favorite concubine is Yang, she spots the emperor secretly meeting with Concubine Mei, whom he had sent to the rear chambers two years ago. Yang wished to approach the emperor and ask him what he is up to, but a guard urges her to not be so narrow-minded, and Yang, flustered and angered beyond words, returns to her chambers. The song is unrestrained yet elegant, the melody leaving a lasting impression.
Based on the Xia style, Yang Zhenxiong further added vocal and performance elements of Kun opera, creating the unique and vivid Yang style of tanci. The versatile vocals are at times bold and powerful, and at times mild and tactful, for a more expressive sound than most male styles.
演唱：孙庆 流派：琴调 琵琶：高博文 词：佚名
10.Dream of the Red Mansion – Evening Rain
Vocals: Sun Qing Style: Qin Pipa: Gao Bowen Lyrics: anonymous
This piece contains a series of repeated lines to show the anxiety and loneliness that Lin Daiyu experiences. The words paint lifelike portraits, the melody atmospheric and captivating.
The Qin style was created by Zhu Xueqin, who, based on the Shen and Xue styles, also further added Yu elements, to create a sound which is tumultuous and bold, with distinct rises and falls in tone. Aside from the fresh-sounding vocals, the Qin style also features many sanxian interludes.
演唱：陆锦花 流派：丽调 三弦：高博文 词：平襟亚
11.Wang Kui and Guiying – Soul Search
Vocals: Lu Jinhua Style: Li Sanxian: Gao Bowen Lyrics: Ping Jinya
The scholar Wang Kui is on his way to the capital to participate in the imperial examination, but when passing through Laiyang he falls ill and faints in the snow. He is saved by a prostitute named Jiao Guiying. After Wang recuperates, he vows to take Jiao as his wife. Later, Wang receives the top score in the examination, and is given an official post. He writes a letter to Guiying in Laiyang, stating his wish to leave her. After receiving the letter Guiying is furious, and commits suicide at the Sea God Temple. Her tormented spirit travels to the capital, and meets Wang Kui in his study, telling him of her lament. Rather than comforting her, Wang draws his sword. Guiying’s spirit carries Wang away, and he is never heard from again. A highly expressive piece, the lyrics and vocals bringing the story to life in vivid detail.
In the early 1950s Xu Lixian created her own characteristic style, which became known as the Li style. At first the style was known for its subtle and elegant tones, but later, after adding lyrics based on both historical and modern stories, the Li style revolutionized pingtan duet vocals, giving her style aspects of vigor and cheerfulness.
About the Performers:
Mao Xinlin Shanghai Pingtan Troupe national first-level performer, disciple of Zhang Jianlin (son of Zhang Jianting), third generation Zhang style artist. A talented vocalist, whose performances are very passionate, and characters very vivid. Mao’s impressive skills have been lauded throughout China, and he has received numerous prestigious awards. An undisputed representative of contemporary pingtan.
Sun Qing Renowned performer of the Zhejiang Province Folk Art and Acrobatics Troupe. From an early age he learned tanci from his father Sun Yuting, and later became the disciple of Yu Hongxian. Particularly skilled at singing The Double Pearl Phoenix. He is especially knowledgeable on the Qin style, and possesses a masterful and appealing style.
张建珍 国家一级演员。多次出国访问演出并于上海举办个人演唱会。2002年江苏省曲艺节优秀表演奖 ；2003年中国曲艺荟萃三等奖；2006年中国评弹艺术节表演银奖； 2008年“评弹金榜”优秀青年演员大赛金榜十佳；2009年江苏省曲艺“芦花奖” 芦花表演奖；2011年上海东方电视台东方戏剧之星。
Zhang Jianzhen National first-level performer, She has performed abroad several times and in 2011 held a solo concert in Shanghai. She has also received the following awards: 2002: fourth annual Jiangsu Province Folk Art Festival, outstanding performance award; 2003: China Folk Art Competition, third-level prize; 2006: third annual China Pingtan Art Festival, performance silver award; 2008: Pingtan Gold List Outstanding Youth Performer Competition, gold list top ten; 2009: third annual Jiangsu Province Folk Art Reed Award, reed performance award; and 2011: Shanghai Dongfang TV Dongfang Theater Star.
Lu Jinhua Outstanding youth performer of the Shanghai Pingtan Troupe, She enjoys pondering on the art of pingtan, and is known to have very keen senses. She has received the following awards: Pingtan Gold List, top ten performer; China Pingtan Art Festival, outstanding artist, outstanding performance, and outstanding education awards; Jiangsu Province Reed Award, newcomer award; Shanghai Culture Newcomer Award, honorable mention; China Folk Art Peony Award, honorable mention; and 2012 Shanghai Outstanding Artist Award.
Huang Haihua Shanghai Pingtan Troupe national second-level performer, disciple of renowned tanci artist Zhang Junmou, outstanding Zhang style artist. Especially skilled at performing pieces such as White Snake and Jade Dragonfly. Listed on the top ten roster of the first annual Pingtan Gold List Competition.
Zhou Hui Shanghai Pingtan Troupe national second-level performer, disciple of renowned tanci artist Shen Shihua. Zhou has a soothing voice, is skilled in styles such as Hou and Yu, and is capable of performing characters very vividly. She was listed on the top ten roster of the first annual Pingtan Gold List Competition, and has been awarded the title of “Shanghai Wenguang Performance Art Star”.
Jiang Xiaobo Shanghai Pingtan Troupe performer, skilled at pieces such as Jade Dragonfly, White Snake, and The Pearl, as well as several different styles, including Yang and Jiang. He won the silver performance award at the fourth annual China Suzhou Pingtan Art Festival, and has been invited several times to record performances for the Suzhou TV Theater large-scale pingtan gala event, for which he has received much praise from television audiences.
Zhu Lin Outstanding youth performer, disciple of renowned tanci artist Zhuang Fengzhu, skilled at performing long tanci pieces such as The Golden Marbles. She has a lively stage presence, a clear voice, and vivid character skills. She was listed on the top ten roster of the first annual Pingtan Gold List Competition, and has been awarded the title of “Shanghai Wenguang Performance Art Star”.
Chen Feng Outstanding youth performer of the Suzhou Pingtan Troupe, he is a Xu style artist, but is also skilled in the Xia and Xiaoyang vocal styles. Representative piece is Three Smiles. He received the outstanding performer award in the first annual Pingtan Gold List Competition.
About the Artistic Director:
Gao Bowen is a national first-level performer, director of the China Folk Artists Association, member of the China Folk Art Association Pingtan Artists Committee, and deputy leader of the Shanghai Pingtan Troupe. Gao is skilled at many pieces, including Pearl Tower and Golden Phoenix Hairpin, and is a recognized master of the three main styles, Wei, Shen and Xue. He has a distinguished stage presence, is a vivid performer, and is one of the most influential figures in pingtan today.
Gao has participated in the performances many mid-length pingtan pieces, such as Battle of Wits Between Sun and Pang, and The Case of the Civet Crown Prince. In order to carry on the heritage of pingtan and promote the art, in addition to performing, Gao also acts as an instructor at the Shanghai Theater Academy College of Theater Dance and Suzhou Pingtan School. He has also given lectures and performed tutoring at Fudan and many other universities. He has been invited on numerous occasions for performances and cultural exchanges in Hong Kong, Japan, France, Sweden, etc.
Gao has received many awards, including the following: first to fifth annual China Pingtan Art Festival, outstanding performance and outstanding performer awards; fifth annual Shanghai Top Ten Cultural Newcomers award; first annual Shanghai Outstanding Youth Artist award; Shanghai Dongfang Theater Star award; first annual China Folk Art Festival, exquisite performance award; sixth and seventh China Folk Art Festival, outstanding performance award; and the Ministry of Culture’s long piece outstanding education award.
About the Sound Engineer:Li DaKang
Currently serving as senior professor of film and television arts at the Communication University of China, sound engineer Li Dakang is among China’s most respected veterans of the media arts as well as an esteemed educator and venerated mentor for young professionals.
Li began his work in 1976. Working first for the China Recording Association and later, accepted to the Beijing Broadcasting Institute of Recording Arts professional development program, Li became a pioneer in China’s nascent stereo and surround technologies and would soon become director of Recording Technologies for the China Recording Corporation.
With more than 30 years experience in the recording industry, Li is highly esteemed for his serious and meticulous work ethic, his breadth of knowledge of the latest technologies and his wealth of practical experience in working with a wide variety of musical styles.
Li has received numerous professional and international accolades, and is the senior sound engineering consultant for the Spring Festival Gala.
音乐制作人, 美国格莱美协会会员 , 创立中国声誉卓著的音乐品牌“瑞鸣音乐”，并任制作人，中国金唱片奖最佳音乐人特别奖获得者。从事音乐创作、制作多年，获海内外重要音乐媒体高度评价，部分作品被海外唱片公司收录出版，所制作的音乐作品在高端音乐市场得到较大认同，并远销海外，销售成绩斐然。担任制作人的唱片及音乐作品曾多次获“美国独立音乐大奖”“中国金唱片奖”“中华优秀出版奖”“华语音乐传媒大奖”等百余个奖项，在中国城市广播联盟评选“中国十大发烧唱片”中数次入选，作品多次入选“CD圣经”等海内外专业评比。因多年与国际音乐制作及出版行业的密切合作经历，音乐创作理念及制作手段具有国际化的开阔视角。
About the Producer:
Ye Yunchuan，Producer, composer, arranger, graphic designer, Grammy member, and the founder of one of China’s most prestigious audiophile recording labels, Rhymoi Music, Ye Yunchuan is further distinguished as the first Full Voting Member of the American Grammy Awards (The National Academy for Recording Arts and Science – NARAS) representing the Chinese music industry. He is, without any question, one of the rising stars in China’s growing music industry. Prior to his current activities, Ye established an international reputation, as a composer and producer, being awarded several American Independent Music Awards, Chinese Golden Album Awards, numerous rave reviews in CD Bible (China) in addition to being included on China City Radio Association’s “Ten Hottest Albums” roundup. Years of cooperation with international music production and publication circles has provided him with a truly global perspective. As founder of his own recording label, Rhymoi Music, he is committed to establishing new standards of excellence for recorded music in China.
Rhymoi Music recordings are immediately identifiable - with their innovative approaches to programming, world-class musical and artistic standards, beauty of presentation and packaging, cultural relevance, and their conscious desire to introduce the treasures of Chinese music to an international audience - Rhymoi Music is without peer. With his deep commitment to the traditions and national music of his homeland, Ye Yunchuan is committed to building new and ever more creative and beautiful bridges between the musical heritage of China and the musical traditions of the world. Ye Yunchuan continues to realize his vision with each new recording.
制作统筹： 黎江 常虹
市场统筹： 刘军 张威
Producer: Ye Yunchuan
Executive Producer:Ye Yunchuan
Art Director: Gao Bowen
Recording: Li Dakang, Xue Wu
Mixing: Li Dakang
Recording Assistant: Xu Jinwei
Chinese Copywriter: Jia Geng
English Copywriter: Nicholas Angiers
Photography: Xiao Ye
Insert Design: Guo Meng
Production Coordination: Li Jiang, Chang Hong
Market Coordination: Liu Jun, Zhang Wei
Recording Studio: Shanghai Film Technical Audio Studio
Post-production: Stockfisch Studios (Germany)
Produced by: Rhymoi Music. Co., Ltd www.rhymoi.com
Copyright Statement: The music and arrangements appearing on this album have been licensed in accordance with the copyright laws of China. If there are any errors, please contact us.
1、《莺莺操琴》 (蒋调) 6:39
Yingying Plays the Qin
2、《长生殿·宫怨》 (俞调) 8:34
3、《林冲·误责贞娘》 ( 张调） 6:31
Lin Chong – Breaking Ties
4、《林冲·长亭泣别》 (俞调) 7:50
Lin Chong - Farewell
5、《西厢·请宴》 (严调) 5:45
West Chamber – The Banquet
6、《狸猫换太子》 (徐调) 6:32
The Case of the Civet Crown Prince
7、《玉蜻蜓·庵堂认母》 (蒋、俞调) 9:37
Jade Dragonfly – Yuanzai Meets His Mother
8、《珍珠塔·义激陈琏》 (薛调) 4:42
Pearl Tower – Chen Lian Hears the Truth
9、《长生殿·絮阁争宠》 (杨调) 5:03
Hall of Longevity - Jealousy
10、《红楼梦·潇湘夜雨》 (琴调) 8:00
Dream of the Red Mansion – Evening Rain
11、《王魁负桂英·情探》 (丽调) 4:48
Wang Kui and Guiying – Soul Search
Total : 74:36